Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram by Calhoun and Loughrige {Book Review}

(Thanks to IVPress for the free copy of this book for this long-overdue review!)

Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram: A Handbook for Harmony and Transformations provides an interesting perspective on the personal and spiritual growth possible through using the enneagram. This is not an entry level enneagram book. You need to know your number first and it is a little more esoteric than any other enneagram book I’ve read. It is more a jumping off point for learning some ways knowing your enneagram type can inform and guide your spiritual growth and relationships with the people around you.

This all sounds well and good, but I didn’t find this particularly accessible or useful. The chapters felt clunky and hard to follow with too many sections of information I wasn’t sure what to do with. Maybe if I went back and combed through the section on Ones more introspectively and slowly I might a glean a little more. Or maybe this style of gaining information is just not for me. Though maybe it was just not quite right for me or not the right timing. Who knows I may jump back into it at a later date and really appreciate it so much more. Books can be fickle like that.

There is a lot of good information on each enneagram type. It is very insightful with sections on harmony within your type, different spiritual practices, specific desolations and consolations, a cheat sheet for practicing empathy with each type, and many more resources for development and reflection. I could see this being an excellent resource for enneagram teachers, spiritual directors, church professionals, or in a thoughtful study group with a knowledgeable discussion leader.

Overall, it was interesting, challenging, and insightful, with a little bit of scattered clunkiness that made it difficult to take in simply through reading. Personally, the breath prayers are what I find most useful. One of the suggested breath prayers for Ones is:

“God you are good. God, I am good enough.”

And I love it.

Here are just few other things I underlined and found helpful in the Ones section:

  • “Your true self emerges from union with God, not from perfect lives. True self Ones affirm the good you see. When improvement is needed, you are patient with yourself and others. A One’s false self is the compulsive, deeply entrenched, old nature that constricts around ensuring that everyone does everything right. It is the psychological or ego self that is constructed on a complex mixture of nature, nurture, perfectionism, and free will.” p 56′
  • “This core goodness works for and recognizes the innate dignity of others.” p 56
  • Consolations point Ones toward God’s magnanimous goodness and grace.” p64
  • “Ones experience consolations such as easy goodness, sacred hope, gentle self-discipline, organized rest, beautiful depth, gracious discernment, insightful encouragement, realistic optimism, noble spirit, conscientious adventure, and empathetic righteousness. This is freedom.” p 64

And a few points from the section on Harmony:

  • “When each Enneagram number learns to integrate head curiosity, heart emotions, and gut instincts [ <- Harmony], we respond to love and work in richer, healthier, and more harmonious ways.” p5
  • “Transformation depends on attention and intention. We have to make space in our lives for the Spirit of Truth to transform us through our sin.” p8

Another book on this topic that I did truly love is called The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher L. Heuertz. It is a smaller book and a little more introductory, but I think it is a little more useful for where I am in my journey spiritually, and enneagram-ly ;)

I do hope you check out at least that book if you are using the enneagram in your life.

Do you have a favorite book on spiritual formation or the enneagram? I’d love to hear about it – either comment below or sign up for my email list and reply there!

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(Disclaimers: 1. Review copy of this book is from IvPress; all opinions are my own. 2. Post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. )

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